Another challenge ahead

UW will try to break Marquette's 13-game home winning streak Wednesday

When the Wisconsin women's basketball team (2-2) invades Milwaukee tomorrow to battle in-state rival Marquette (4-0), UW will attempt to be the first team to knock off the Golden Eagles on their home floor. Marquette enters the contest on a 13-game home winning streak, 10 of which came on the newly constructed Al McGuire Center.

"We are going into their place, and they have never lost there so it's a great chance for them to overlook us and hopefully we can come out with a ‘W,'" senior guard Stephanie Rich said.

Wisconsin is coming off a rough weekend in Houston, where it dropped both of its contests this weekend 86-61 against Houston and 77-74 to Middle Tennessee State. The Golden Eagles will mark the third consecutive NCAA Tournament team on the road the Badgers have faced in what is the most difficult stretch of Wisconsin's non-conference season.

"This [stretch] is going to be a learning tool for all of us," Rich said. "It marks the freshman's first experiences and first losses as well and it's nothing they want to get used to but something they can look back 10 games from now and say ‘oh we really learned a lot from this.'"

The contest against Marquette will be the third of four straight road games, the longest road trip of the season. UW looked impressive at home in their first two victories but struggled to play a complete 40 minutes last weekend in their two losses.

The Badgers cannot repeat their dreadful performance last season away from the Kohl Center. Wisconsin went a miserable 2-9 on the road last season and have yet to break into the win column this season away from Madison.

"A lot of teams have trouble playing on the road and the great teams are the ones that can overcome that," freshman guard Janese Banks said. "Of course at home everybody is behind you and you can be more laid back, but I think we need to establish that we can be a good road team."

With state bragging rights on the line, the Badgers hope to find themselves back in the winning column. Marquette returns three starters from the squad that finished 22-10 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season.

"We're looking for a win right now," head coach Lisa Stone said. "We're looking for some answers. We're looking for continuity offensively, and to repack our bags and this time bring along rebounding and defense. Those two were left at home last week, unfortunately."

With everything surrounding this game, the Badgers know that they cannot get involved in all the hype. UW will not only have the opportunity to gain bragging rights and end the Golden Eagles' winning streak at home, but more importantly prove that this team has taken the next step and can rebound from a tough stretch with a victory.

"I think we have some revenge to get back from them," senior forward Ebba Gebisa said. "They came into our place and beat us two years ago and this is definitely a big game for us, but you have to treat every game like it's the biggest game of the year."

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